Watch CBS News

'They need our prayers, and she just wants her little boy:' Karns City community rallies for support after quarterback collapses on field during game

Karns City football player collapses on field during game
Karns City football player collapses on field during game 00:27

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — A 17-year-old Karns City High School quarterback and senior remains hospitalized after he was airlifted from Friday night's game. 

Twenty-four hours later, loved ones gathered to pray outside UPMC Presbyterian in Pittsburgh, where he's fighting for his life.

Shennell Crissman is heartbroken, thinking about Mason Martin and his family.

"This little man, this little boy played with so much passion," Crissman said.

They've known each other since their kids were little and played football for East Brady. Her son doesn't play anymore but is in the same grade as Martin at Karns City.

"[Martin] was worried about everybody and not himself, so if he could do anything to protect his team, that was what he was going to do," Crissman said.

WATCH: Chris DeRose Reports

Family and friends gather to pray for Karns City quarterback 01:57

Martin was seriously hurt during a football game against Redbank Valley Friday night. Family told KDKA he suffered a significant brain bleed, along with a collapsed lung, and said the next hours are critical.

Crissman learned what happened when she got a call from her son who was at the stadium.

"He was very shaken up," Crissman said.

The family told KDKA it was the third quarter when Martin was involved in a hit or tackle and continued playing defense without issue. He left the field for the extra point and then came back for the return kick-off, but before play started, they saw Martin staggering, stumbling, and wobbling and the referee walked towards him. Seconds later, they heard the ref blow his whistle as Martin collapsed.

Player Injured In High School Football Game Sent To UPMC Presby 02:00

Video from the game shows players' reactions that something serious was happening. Players started kneeling and eventually gathered in a huddle on the field. The game was cut short with 7:53 left on the clock as first responders flew Martin to UPMC Presbyterian.

"My heart sunk because this family has been through more than any family, and it's just heartbreaking to hear that with all the battles they're fighting, now that they have this," Crissman said.

On top of Martin's recovery, his mom is battling stage four breast cancer, but through it all, Crissman said the family never shows any weakness.

"They don't think about themselves, they never have," Crissman said.

It's why she decided to hold a vigil outside the hospital Saturday night.

"They would do it for us in a heartbeat. I mean, they would go out of their way to make everybody feel like they mattered and that's just how the family is," Crissman said.

Dozens of family and friends stood together, signs in hand in hopes Martin could feel their love and support through a live feed, sending their best wishes that Martin pulls through and can get back on that field doing what he loves most once again.

"They need our prayers, and she just wants her little boy," Crissman said.

Karns City Superintendent Eric Ritzert provided KDKA with a letter sent to parents. In it, he shared the following statement:

Our prayers are with him and his family as he recovers.

The school district will be holding a Sunday night at the stadium at 7 p.m. and will have counselors on hand Tuesday when students and staff return to class.

View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.